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Panaji:

A trial court here on Thursday framed charges against ruling BJP MLA Atanasio Monserrate in a rape case involving a minor girl.

The trial is now scheduled to begin from October 17 at the Additional District and Session Court here.

Monserrate was booked in 2016 under the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for allegedly drugging and raping a 16-year-old girl.

In the 2018 Panaji by-polls, Monserrate contested on a Congress ticket and was severely criticised by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant after the rape victim went mysteriously missing during the campaign. The victim, however, reappeared soon after the by-elections, which Monserrate won.

The charge-sheeted Monserrate later joined the BJP in July this year, as part of a group of 10 Congress deserters.

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